One of the great aspects of the Senior Bowl is the opportunity to get up close and personal with some of the prospects in Mobile. Over the seven years that I've gone to Mobile, my one-on-one interview list has been long and illustrious. Under the old setup, we had a wonderful young assistant named Catherine Anne who would take my list of player requests and escort players past all other media for a one-on-one with me.
"Dak, you're going to do a one-on-one with John Harris from the Texans." In the winter of 2016, I spoke with Dak Prescott with the hopes that he would come live in Texas and do great things playing football in this state. That did actually happen, but it just ended up being the wrong city. Either way, Catherine Anne was just tremendous. If for some reason, we didn't get a player at media day, she made sure to get that player over to us at some point throughout the week. Carson Wentz. DaQuon Jones. La'el Collins. It was a gold mine of players and an absolute blast to get to complete those interviews.
A few years ago, though, the Senior Bowl changed the process and those one-on-ones weren't as plentiful. It became a free for all, every outlet for itself at Tuesday's Media Day after the weigh-ins. Not to mention, the media throng grew exponentially over the past seven years as the popularity of the event exploded. So, each year, I narrowed my search, so to speak, as I tried to anticipate a bit what the Texans might do in the draft. Over the years, I interviewed Braxton Miller and Carlos Watkins at the Senior Bowl, well before they became Texans. So, last year two months prior to COVID striking the country, I tried to find as many pass rushers as I could find as we all knew the Texans needed some improvement in the pass rush.
As I walked around the media day session, the chaos of the day had a young man in Florida Gators basketball shorts with just one camera and interviewer in front of him. I realized right away I wanted that exact player for an interview. I waited about ten minutes or so and when they finished I was ready to pounce and the interviewer went Chris Farley on him.
"Remember that time you sacked that guy?"
You. Have. To. Be. Kidding. I continued to wait patiently and at some point, the Senior Bowler caught my eye and I don't know if he could sense my impatience or how perturbed I was (slightly, of course), but he reached out his hand to the interviewer, thanked him and walked over to me with a huge smile on his face.
"Jonathan Greenard, how are you doing?
"I know who you are. I'm John Harris from the Houston Texans."
I spent about three or four minutes with Jon and walked away thinking I'd love to see him as a Texan. On draft night, I felt like I talked that into existence as I called my shot with Greenard in the third round...and then it happened. After his name had been called, he joined us for his post draft interview. As we were on the Zoom call with him, he saw me there in the corner of the screen and with a huge smile remembered us talking about him, Houston and the Senior Bowl.
I'll miss that next week in Mobile as the players won't do any true one-on-ones of that fashion, but at least, I'll always have that one day when I met Jon Greenard in Mobile, months before he started his Houston Texans' career.